Kombucha Class at FOLK with Louise Avery

Last night I journeyed to a new reality. One where I forage for wild hedgerow fruits, brew homemade kombucha and knit my own toilet paper.  Well I made up the last bit but the rest of it is all true. This new reality was in Suffolk at FOLK cafe in Fornham St Martin, near Bury St Edmunds, where Louise Avery of LA Brewery hosted a kombucha workshop.

For those poor unfortunates who don’t know what kombucha is (me about a month ago) let me explain. Kombucha is fermented tea that tastes so unlike most other soft drinks that it is often compared to alcohol for the complexity and depth of its flavour. Hence my interest! Oh and it’s incredibly good for you.

From Shoreditch to Suffolk via the Hebrides

Louise Avery Kombucha Workshop
Louise explained the whole process beautifully.

I don’t know if Louise Avery does actually knit her own toilet paper but she’s that bloody resourceful that I bet she could! 8 years ago she escaped a city job and moved to the Hebrides with no plan other than to make some kombucha. Skip to the present, via much blood, sweat and tears and her company LA Brewery has a whopping great factory in Suffolk and supplies Wholefoods, Planet Organic and loads more. Louise is a very inspiring lady!

So, what exactly is all the fuss about? Well, like me, Louise wanted to find good quality, full bodied alcohol alternatives that weren’t just carbonated sugar syrup.  Kombucha is sour and sweet at the same time, either fizzy or still, can be fruity or herby, it makes excellent mocktails and is great for gut health.

How to make kombucha

You can buy LA Brewery Kombucha here or make your own and experiment with strength and flavour. As a keen home brewer, I took the hard option. Here’s how we made it.

Louise Avery LA Brewery Kombucha Workshop
In a tea strainer we put a teaspoon of black or green tea. I chose Assam but you could use Jasmine and another brown one I didn’t like the look of. We stirred the tea in 200ml of boiling water and then added 80g of sugar, which we continued to stir until it had dissolved.
Louise Avery LA Brewery kombucha workshop
We checked the sugar had dissolved before pouring the liquid into our glass jars.
Louise Avery LA Brewery kombucha workshop
At this point we topped the jars up with 800ml of filtered water.
Louise Avery LA Brewery kombucha workshop
And now for the science bit. We added the SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast) or mother culture, from a previous batch of kombucha. This is what makes it all fermenty. (That’s literally the scientific word for it.)
Louise Avery LA Brewery kombucha workshop
Ali Barker (middle) who owns FOLK now sells Louise’s LA Brewery Kombucha in the cafe. She enjoys it most evenings instead of drinking wine. 
Louise Avery LA Brewery kombucha workshop
And so to flavouring. You can add all manner of things – rose buds, blackberries, pears, fig leaves, orange, ginger, whatever you fancy. And that’s the fun part.
Louise Avery LA Brewery Kombucha workshop
And here is my beautiful creation back home. I have covered if with a heavy cloth material to stop fruit flies getting in and left the lid open to prevent it fermenting to alcohol. In 2 days I will decant it and add ginger and pear. I’ll let you know how it tastes!

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